Efficiency is the need of the hour, and the world is growing more and more digitized by the day. Online establishments and ventures—such as websites and social media profiles—need to become equally efficient.
According to reports, in America alone 96% people prefer shopping online. Forbes showed in a report that as many as 47% people prefer online marketplaces when making repeat purchases.
This in turn hooks people to your product/service through:
(a) a smooth, fast-loading page and useful web page, and
(b) customer retention strategies that ensure that customers will come back for a product that is “tried and tested.”
If you sell a service or a product, then page speed optimization becomes even more important.
The page speed will be directly proportional to how successful your business is.
Understanding Page Speed
How fast do the contents of your page load for users? The measurement of this speed is, at its most fundamental, page speed.
Don’t confuse this with site speed, which is a measurement of the views the page has had.
Page speed refers to the time it takes for all the content on your page to load and the time it takes for your server to relay the first byte of information to the user’s browser.
Check Your PageSpeed Insights
Google allows you to have full knowledge of page speed through its PageSpeed Insights option.
There are two metrics that come under the umbrella of PageSpeed Insights for evaluation. These are:
First Contentful Paint (FCP): The time that it takes a user to go from a browser to content that’s displayed first and foremost. It’s the FCP that helps users determine that the page is, in fact, loading.
DOM Content Loaded (DCL): DCL occurs when everything HTML is ready for interaction, without style sheets or subframes blocking the event because they haven’t fully loaded yet.
Data from Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX) is used to measure this.
It’s important to understand that “loading” is not, theoretically speaking, “a single moment in time,” but a measurement of varying experiences.
This enables users to determine whether a page is “slow” or “fast.”
Why it Matters
The digital world is in a constant race in which no two contenders are ever equal: there’s always a winner, always someone on top, always someone that dominates.
Dominating the digital marketplace is no different: no matter the wishy-washy feel-good trite you’re fed in school, everyone is not a winner and everyone is not in the same boat.
Your website will either rank on the topmost positions—or it won’t.
In order to rank high in the digital marketplace so that you can make your presence felt with a greater impact, you’re required to rank higher on SERPs.
The page speed optimization of web pages comes under the process of website SEO.
Keeping Google Happy
Google uses algorithms to rank pages. And according to Google itself, site speed is one of the things it considers when it chooses to rank a certain page.
But more importantly, there’s evidence that suggests that Google considers the time it takes for the first byte to reach the browser when it’s measuring page speed.
It’s also important to note here that SERPs have a certain crawl budget, under the jurisdiction of which they can only allow a particular number of pages to crawl.
Slower pages mean fewer pages, which is destructive in terms of indexation.
Bounce rate also has a role to play here: the faster your page loads, the lower your bounce rate is going to be.
This means that if your page is taking 10 seconds to load, visitors are 120% likelier to abandon you for a page that has its speed optimized better.
Remember, faster is better—so how do you ensure this?
We have some ideas:
Reduce the CSS
Cascading stylesheets are supposed to beautify your website, and are in a sense an important enough element (especially if your brand’s aesthetic is supposed to look elegant and beautiful). However, CSS files are hardly light.
Think in terms of a ton of code: from a comma to a code comment to line break—everything is an additional weight to the overall size of your file.
While simplifying the job of people who handle the code, it can considerably slow the website down. We suggest therefore that an original copy of the code be maintained.
Have your developers minimize the unnecessary code bits—keep the savings between 20% to 30%. You can use CSSminifier for the job.
Cut Down on File Requests
Wherever CSS can be used instead of an image, go ahead and use it. From buttons to gradients, much can be compensated with CSS. This reduces the number of file requests you make and allows your page to load faster.
Large images and a great number of images can both turn your page into a slow loading one.
The trick to avoiding this is to save your image as the right file—as well as knowing whether you need to save in terms of bytes of kilobytes.
Reduce the file size. Use Fireworks instead of Photoshop to export the images and save the time it takes for your page to load.
Cash in on Caches
Databases have become a common resource used by websites these days, especially if you look in the e-commerce arena.
The number of file requests, as has been aforementioned, contributes to the slowing down of a website.
This is exactly what happens with databases. A request is forwarded to the database from site visitors every time a page is loaded.
The problem with this is that servers can process only a limited number of requests before beginning to buffer.
Caches solve this problem by eliminating the need to have all the information requested over and over again. Instead, the information is recalled because it’s saved.
Large websites such as Facebook function so efficiently because they use cashes. Caching is also easier to perform with Magneto or WordPress.
Write Better CSS
The learning is easy, the mastering is tough.
Efficiency in the CSS department is crucial to building a page and a website that customers are less likely to abandon.
Writing better CSS is, of course, the final nail in the coffin.
I hope this article has helped you gain a better understanding of page speed and why it matters.
Remember to check your PageSpeed Insights periodically. And if you keep the above 6 page speed optimization tips in mind, your page load times should decrease by a good margin. 🙂
Joseph Dyson is an SEO specialist at Search Berg, a leading SEO services provider that has overseen the successful completion of over 150,000 projects. Search Berg offers a variety of services like local SEO services, link building services, ecommerce SEO services and more.